The Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Committee Members considered the move by the ABP Food Group to acquire a 50% shareholding in Slaney Foods, this week.

This increase in shareholding marks a significant shift in the operating interests in the national kill.

Committee Chairman, Andrew Doyle TD said Slaney Foods, the parent group that controls both Slaney Meats and Irish Country Meats, represents a significant operator within the industry and any consolidation between ABP and Slaney Foods must be examined in great detail.

“The Committee today highlighted the fact that any possible move by ABP should be in full compliance with the Competition rules regarding monopolies and should uphold the common good and to protect the interests of the producers and consumers alike,” he said.

According to Doyle, the Committee believes the economic principles of fair and open competition to be the cornerstone of success in any market and so any possible change to the balance of operations within the national kill industry should be of significant interest.

“The Committee agreed to highlight the context of the operating environment with the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority in order for their considerations to take into account the wider operating position and the effect of any possible future moves.

“Price volatility has been a matter of great concern for farmers around the country and any move that may impact on this, requires the full attention of the relevant regulatory authorities. At the heart of our concern is the protection of product quality and integrity within the Irish agricultural industry.”